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Wi-Fi Plushie 


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Wi-Fi Plushie 

Written By: Dylan Field 


• Hot glue gun (1) 

• Marker (1) 

• Seam ripper (1) 


• Chumby (1) 

• Plushie (1) 

of your choice to hack the Chumby into. 


A Chumby is a small wi-fi device with a screen that uses your wireless internet connection 
to grab cool widgets (music, video, news, messages, photos) from the web. 

It's always on, and can act as a simple alarm clock, digital photo album, news source, music 
player, or anything else you program. 

Last year at O'Reilly's FOO Camp on new technologies, I decided that while my Chumby 
was pretty cool, it needed to express more individuality. Essentially, every Chumby looked 
the same — cute, but still a clone of its brothers and sisters. So with the help of a few 
members of the Chumby team, I abandoned the beanbag toy packaging for something more 
expressive. Here's how I did it; you can do the same mod with a lunchbox, spaceship toy, 

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Wi-Fi Plushie 

Take out your Chumby's screen by applying pressure to the outside of its rubber housing. 
The screen should pop out, attached by the "chumbilical" — a cord that relays information 
— and a backup power supply. Disconnect both cords. Cut out the rubber the screen was 
in and put it aside. 

• Next, flip the Chumby over and undo the Velcro lining. Use the seam ripper to cut the 
seam and extract the polyester beanbag inside. Cut out the plastic mold in the device's 
rear that houses the on/off switch and power supply, and disconnect all cables. 

• Take the speakers out of the Chumby's sides. Set them aside, and locate the cable that is 
not connected to a speaker or the screen. This is the bend sensor. Carefully cut the bend 
sensor out of the fabric it is in. The sensor is very fragile, so be sure not to hurt it with the 
seam ripper. (Or yourself! I stabbed myself in the thumb at least once.) 

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Wi-Fi Plushie 

Decide where you want to put the Chumby's screen, then trace around the device's base 
on the plushie with a marker. You'll also want to decide where on the plush the connectors 
will go (often on the back side of the item). 

Cut along the line you've drawn with your seam ripper, reconnect the chumbilical and 
power supply from the back of the rubber housing, and place the housing in the plushie. 

Step 4 — Insert the connector case, speakers, and bend sensor. 

Decide where you want to put the 
plastic housing of the Chumby's 
dorsal connector case. Connect all 
the wires back in. The speakers 
are audible from inside a plushie, 
but the bend sensor must be 
placed in a firm area in order to 
function properly. 


• If the bend sensor does not 
function correctly after the 
hack, the control panel can always 
be pulled up with a tap to the 
screen's upper left hand corner. 

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Wi-Fi Plushie 

Last but not least, hot-glue the Chumby to your plushie. Be sure to leave an opening for 
the light sensor on the left side of the screen. Let the glue dry, and enjoy! 

This project first appeared in CRAFT Volume 03 . pages 124-126. 

This document was last generated on 201 2-1 0-30 08:57:40 PM. 

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